In Ghana 60% 0f the 28 million Population live in rural areas. Over 40% of the population are small scale farmers. Majority of these people are poor farmers who earn less than US$2 a day and live in deprived rural communities. Today, farmers and the nation are faced with food insecurity and rising poverty worsened by the effects of climate change. These are in addition to the several problems facing farmers which have been neglected by successive governments through lip service. Some land tenure laws and policies exist but have not been implemented in favour of farmer land rights. But farmers still play a significant role in national and global economies and in providing vital environmental services, though they are not paid for them. It has become increasingly important for farming to be organized as proper businesses and value added rural enterprises, using innovations and modern technologies, including ICT to enhance sustainable agricultural value chains.
Farmers need to be organized to improve their production capacity, access to markets, and building financial mechanisms to support their small and medium size farming enterprises. In recent years many of them have tried to form grass roots associations to pull their resources together and garner support for socio economic and political emancipation. These groups are very small and lack organizational and institutional ability to harness opportunities to address the problems relating to local traditional farming in a modern day economy. COFAG recognises the existence of other farmers groups, associations, alliances and networks and their right to organize and we as an entity and cooperates on common platforms for further Networking and advocacy for farmer and rural interests. But majority of farmers are not in groups; many farmers are not organized at the local and national levels and our current coalition gives an opportunity for other farmers and local groups to belong to a wider coalition and legal status for so many groups which could not afford to register at the community level.
This coalition has come about through several consultations, contacts, meetings and engaging communications among several farmers and rural organizations since 2009, but gaining momentum in 2011, and has fostered new groups, mobilizations, mergers and alliances of several kinds and involving all manner of small holder farmers and stakeholder groups engaging one another and relevant government departments leading to registrations and legalizations. We have tried hard to accommodate different shades of opinions and interests and found common ground in several areas as enshrined in our Constitution.
23 founding farmers associations of COFAG represented 62,000 farmers, and as at September, 2018 grown to about 900,000 farmers in 300 groups of farmers in villages, small towns and rural areas in all zones and regions of Ghana have come together to provide representation, leadership, capacity building, services and a voice for all small farmers groups in Ghana who believe in our mission and vision and are ready to join this coalition to continue to meet the challenges of small farmers associations and promote farmers rights and rural interests without discrimination due to social status and other affiliations.